Dream Campaigns


I’ve always wanted to run a deeply slice of life game for an extended period, just to see where it goes. Like, we’re working class families who share an apartment block in Dąbrowa Górnicza or Allentown in 1975. The social contract of the play group is that Nothing Much Happens, so the small challenges of life become intense foci and the overall texture of the campaign approaches some weird gaming equivalent of photorealism.

I’d probably used a radically toned down version of Archipelago. Maybe instead of the cards for addressing uncertainty there would be a single replacement card that just says “Do the least interesting thing”.


Could you do this with The Great American Novel, if you made all the conflicts super low-key?


Sure, probably? I have not looked at that game. If it is built around or predicated on conflicts it is probably not the right tool for my dream campaign, though. My dream campaign is so boring it is interesting.


I’ve been trying to design a map-based game based on James Joyce’s Ulysses but this is making me think that I should run it as an rpg campaign!


My dream campaigns are:

A Void Engineer game of Mage the Ascension with characters seeking out a distant exoplanet in the haziest realms of the Consensus.

Any Planescape game involving the weird factions of Sigil.

Mindjammer Traveller with all the Iain M Banks I can muster.

Dune, any system.


I don’t know the cosmology of Mage at all, but that sounds fantastic.


What makes Mage: the Ascension’s cosmology weird is that it’s athropocentric, subjective, and changes as human Consensus shifts. So the Umbra started out as a spirit world, but gradually expanded to encompass an ever more detailed solar system.

A traditional Mage can explore it through meditation and spiritual exploration or magic portals, while Technomancers use dimensional science and space travel to explore. The problem with the latter method is that once you get past where NASA has explored, reality becomes less stable and your crew is likely to encounter aliens and paradoxical phenomena.


I want to run a high fantasy game in a world built by my group. I honestly think that’s it but I’d have to have closer friends who are into tabletop in my real life for that to happen.


That’s why I’ve been progenating and raising my home group “from scratch.”


Around three years after I started GMing, I was tasked to introduce some interested players to Dungeons and Dragons. Pressured for time but the players insisting they wanted some “typical, classical stuff”, I drew on some of my familiar materials and quickly prepared something that drew a lot of inspiration of Atalanta’s stories and the Argonaut’s. The players were very displeased and accused me of “not understanding fantasy”, and “Misrepresenting DnD” and “being a poor show of a GM.” All by making a game about “some boar and some apples.”

Ever since that day I have hungered for vindication.

Ever since that day I have wanted to run a proper, mythological, grand and petty game. A game of generations of heroes, doing quests for mercurial gods and other supernal beings for their own flawed reasons.


You should play some AGON my friend.


There are many of the reasons why that would not scratch my itch; one of which would be still getting the right campaign and players committed for it.


I’d be interested to get your thoughts on how “full” a full rebellion is. I’m messing around with a related Blades hack, and I have a bit of a sticking point as to where it ends. With one city liberated? With an entire country in open revolt? Or with an entire country completing a revolution? Starting point is also somewhat up for debate, like, start just with the party and ask them to build a movement from scratch, or place them in an already nascent rebellion?


That’s…a very good question, haha. In my mind at least, I was imagining the “start” of the campaign being: the player characters form a group and take (an) action. I typically run “fewshots” or miniseries of about 4 sessions - in that setting I would probably start things off a little further down the timeline, in and already nascent rebellion, likely as a mission from a handler or something of that nature. The ending point would be hard to define as well - rebellions are rarely cleanly delineated in history after all, right? So I think it would involve a discussion with the players, “How far do you want to go from here?” The first satisfying end point for me would be the overthrow and perhaps an epilogue: celebration, tying up relationship threads, etc. but it could be interesting to play out the next steps as well, maybe in a zoomed-out way like with Microscope or exploring a new generation of characters.


Currently planning out the bones of a Doctor Who Time Wars living campaign taking lessons from Rich Rogers Star Wars Saturdays.


No X-Men, Jim? Et tu, Brute?


I’ve wanted to do a Spoon River Anthology game for much the same reasons.Little things become super important because everything is little.


X-Men is a separate universe.

/hot take


you could probably have Etherites and Void Engineers - either separate teams and drawn to the same thing, or just working together after dealing with a greater threat (eg Nephandi or for a curve ball-Wraiths)

Aliens could be Marauders since they are pretty alien and underused.


You have cut me deeply and cruelly, Jim.:smile: